Archives for the month of: December, 2016

The second most important day of my life was December 28, 1968.* That was the day Lena and I exchanged wedding vows. Yesterday we celebrated 48 years of marriage.  She is a gift from God to me for which I am most grateful.

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It has been over 50 years since Lena and I first met. We have loved each other for more than a half century. WOW! It is amazing how love has grown over those years. We have very different personalities and talents but have learned to appreciate and complement each other. And we are still learning. With God’s help we have grown together and that process is ongoing.

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God has been so good to us since the day we pledged our lives together in that little church on Stone Street in Mobile, Alabama. “For better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish till death us do part.” We have had our struggles and trials but our lives have been blessed since we loaded everything we had into that 1965 Chevrolet Impala and headed to New York.

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Lena and I have three adult children. In spite of the struggles of the early years of marriage and parenting, they have grown to be wonderful adults. Each of them has wisely chosen life partners. They and our two grandchildren are priceless treasures.

Lena has sacrificed a lot as she has accompanied me on our journey from Alabama to New York, Tennessee, and Georgia. She has been my chief critic and most devoted helper and cheerleader through the nine times we have moved since our wedding day.  She shares my love for travel and has been my companion as we have explored more of this world than I ever imagined. We have more plans to “see the world” near and far as long as our health and resources last.

My spouse for two-thirds of my life, the mother of our three children and grandmother of our two grandchildren, is one of the most generous persons I know. She loves people and thrives on caring for others. She is a happy person who laughs a lot and loves to dance. She is a talented woman whose creativity is displayed in many ways. As a Master Gardener her flower garden is one of the most visible evidences of her gifts.

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The love of my life is a spiritual person who believes in a loving God and understands that what a person believes should inform and impact how they live and treat others.

She is one of the most authentic persons I know.

I am grateful to God and to Lena for the 48 years of marriage and I look forward to sharing many more years and adventures together, God willing.

Jamie Jenkins

*The most important day of my life??

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Sears Restores "Merry Christmas" Signs After Protests

Retailers were already pushing Christmas merchandise before Halloween this year. Two full months before the calendar event. A month before the start of Advent for Christians.

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The four-week Christian season of Advent has been observed since at least the latter part of the 5th century. It is a period of waiting, preparation, and anticipation of the celebration oi the birth of the Promised One. That period of waiting is almost over. It is only three days until Christmas Day.

Angels announced the birth of Jesus with the greeting “peace on earth and good will to all people” 1500 years before the Church began observing the Advent Season. But even hundreds of years before that miraculous birth of the Bethlehem Babe, His coming was foreseen by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 11:1-9).

Thomas Troeger, distinguished professor and author, used the text from Isaiah as the basis for a poem written in 1994. The Bach Choir of Pittsburg commissioned Glenn Rudolph to create a musical tribute to the victims of the attacks on American targets September 11th, 2001 and he used the text of this poem for his composition of The Dream Isaiah Saw.

 

This song captures the miracle (of the birth of Jesus). Blogger “The Barefoot Pastor” says, “In the midst of the powerful forces of this world: armies and marching orders and all the violence that is woven into our lives, God came to us as a baby to bring us peace.” (www.thebarefootpastor.blogspot.com)

The lyrics are below and you can listen to an excellent musical presentation of the song

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FqhPh72kB0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj90IkYeZaE

THE DREAM ISAIAH SAW

Lions and oxen will sleep in the hay,
leopards will join with the lambs as they play,
wolves will be pastured with cows in the glade,
blood will not darken the earth that God made.
Little child whose bed is straw,
take new lodgings in my heart.
Bring the dream Isaiah saw:
life redeemed from fang and claw.

Peace will pervade more than forest and field:
God will transfigure the violence concealed
deep in the heart and in systems of gain,
ripe for the judgment the Lord will ordain.
Little child whose bed is straw,
take new lodgings in my heart.
Bring the dream Isaiah saw:
justice purifying law.

Nature reordered to match God’s intent,
nations obeying the call to repent,
all of creation completely restored,
filled with the knowledge and love of the Lord.
Little child whose bed is straw,
take new lodgings in my heart.
Bring the dream Isaiah saw:
knowledge, wisdom, worship, awe.

Isaiah’s dream is the vision that God has for all creation. Let it be, Lord! Let it be!

Jamie Jenkins

 

Call it coincidence. Call it ironic. I say it was God’s sense of humor.

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My post last Thursday explained my difficulty with waiting. I admitted that I am an impatient person. Not a good wait-er.

On the day that post appeared one week ago, my wife and I went to a Christmas luncheon and planned to return home mid-afternoon. Before we left that morning I called my doctor. I had been having head and neck pain for about a week and wanted to know what he thought I should do about it. During the luncheon his nurse returned my call with instructions from the doctor to go to the emergency room. They might need to do some “imaging of the head” in an effort to find the problem.

Following my doctor’s recommendation, I went to the emergency room of a nearby hospital. When I arrived at 1:30 PM there were a lot of people in the waiting room who looked like they needed to be there. Unlike most of the other patients I walked in upright, showed no outward evidence of the need for emergency treatment, and was dressed like I was going to an important event.

emergency_room_591A few minutes after arriving at the emergency department I was called into the triage room where I provided them with the details of my situation. After waiting a while they called my name and I was ushered into a space enclosed by curtains where an EKG was administered, blood was drawn, and an IV was installed in my right arm. No explanation was given until I asked why this was necessary.

I was told to sit in a wheel chair and wait (for what?). In a few minutes a young man came and wheeled me through a maze of treatment rooms and down a hallway with no explanation until I asked where we were going. He replied that I was going to have a CT scan of my head. Shortly after I received that information we stopped at the end of the hallway and the man who had been pushing me disappeared into a room without a word. I sat there waiting, not knowing what was next.

Finally the man returned and pushed me into a room where there was a huge machine. He told me to remove my glasses, lie down on my back, and rest my head in a certain place. Assuming this was when he was going to complete the “imaging of my head” which my doctor had suggested, I asked and he said yes.

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After the scan I was wheeled back to the waiting room and told I would get the results in 30-45 minutes. It was three o’clock. I waited. An hour passed and my wife asked the receptionist what was happening. She was told they were waiting for a room so the doctor could talk with me. I waited. Four hours later I was ushered back to the treatment area and was given a seat in the hallway where the doctor came and reported the results of all the procedures.

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The attending physician was very pleasant and informative. She delivered the good news that all tests were negative. Nothing in the blood lab work, EKG, or CT scan showed anything abnormal. She said the cause of my headaches was most likely muscular so Extra Strength Tylenol and a couple of days of a mild muscle relaxer would probably solve the problem. Seven hours after I entered the emergency department I left for home. I had waited, not so patiently I might add, but in the end I received good news

The third week of Advent is almost over. We continue to wait in anticipation of the Coming of the Christ-Child. Ten more days of waiting until Christmas. Then comes the Good News. Christ is born in Bethlehem. It is worth the wait!

Jamie Jenkins

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I am not a good waiter. I am not talking about being employed as a server in a restaurant. Although I know that is a hard job and I have never tried it, I know I would not be good at it. No, I am not a good wait-er.

I have a hard time standing in line to purchase tickets to an event or to enter a facility. Sitting at red traffic lights or creeping along at a snail’s pace in traffic makes me crazy. It has been said that I will drive 20 minutes out of the way just to keep moving. I guess you could say that I lack patience.

I want things to happen when they are supposed to happen. Don’t delay the start of an event or a meeting because others are still on their way. Begin at the scheduled time. Get on with it. Don’t make me wait.

Because of my impatience, I need some imposed discipline. Some structure that requires me to stop and take time.

This time of the year is a challenge. Once Thanksgiving Day has passed I am ready to get on to Christmas Day. But the Christian season of Advent makes me wait and that is a good thing regardless of how hard it is.

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Advent is the period preceding the Christmas season. It begins on the Sunday nearest November 30, the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle, and covers four Sundays. In 2016 Advent began on November 27.

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The word advent, from Latin, means “the coming.” As the Christmas season has become more secular, with advertisers urging holiday gift-givers to buy and buy some more, Advent still focuses more on the observance of ancient customs. Christian families find quiet moments lighting candles in the Advent wreath, and children use Advent calendars to count the days until Christmas.

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I heard a radio commercial that stated, “Christmas brings to mind Santa Claus, Polar Bears, and Coke.” The Christian observance of Advent counters that perspective and focuses our thoughts to the real meaning of Christmas- the birth of the Christ Child and the promised return of the Messiah.

It is unknown when the period of preparation for Christmas that is now called Advent first began but it was certainly in existence from the late part of the 5th Century. Originally, it was a time when converts to Christianity readied themselves for baptism. Advent was considered a pre-Christmas season of Lent when Christians devoted themselves to prayer and fasting.

By the 6th century, however, Roman Christians had tied Advent to the coming of Christ. But the “coming” they had in mind was not Christ’s first coming in the manger in Bethlehem, but his second coming in the clouds as the judge of the world.

So for the last 1600 years Orthodox Christianity has observed a four week period of spiritual preparation for the celebration of Christmas. We wait, as difficult as that might be, in anticipation for the coming of the Messiah who came first as the Baby of Bethlehem and will one day come again as the Victorious Lord of Life.

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As we joyfully await the coming of Christ let us pray for the needs of the church and the world. As we anticipate His coming, let us be faithful in all aspects of our lives doing those things that will show that we have turned from our sins and are following Christ.

Jamie Jenkins

 

Fantasy Gifts 2016

Every fall the luxury retailer, Neiman Marcus, releases its Christmas Book catalog filled with holiday gift ideas. This year’s edition includes a Private Plane in Rose Gold for $1.5 million, an Exclusive Grammy Awards Experience for $500,000, and a week of luxury living at three English estates for only $700,000. For football fans there is a one-day private quarterback camp with Joe Montana for $65,000.

Fantasy Gifts 2016

One of the new offerings this year has received a lot of attention. Its price is nothing compared with the items listed above. It is collard greens “seasoned with just the right amount of spices and bacon.” The order “ships fully cooked and frozen” and arrives in four 12 ounce trays and serves 8-10 people.

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The collard greens must be gold plated. That is the only way that servings for 8-10 people could be worth $66 plus $15.50 for shipping. You can buy collard greens at the supermarket for about $2. An Atlanta restaurant owner said you could buy 20 bushels of collard greens that would make 3,000 servings for Neiman Marcus’ price. He probably would agree with the person who posted on Twitter: “Rich or not, if u pay $66 for greens, you’re 1 fry short of a happy meal.”

“The fact that Neiman Marcus is shipping collard greens lets me know it’s almost time for the Lord to return and take us all off earth,” @icanonlybemekh tweeted. The reaction is not limited to the charging nearly a 4,000 percent upcharge. One person was critical of the way Neiman Marcus seasoned their greens. “Cost aside, if you ain’t making your collards with ham hocks or smoked turkey, I got no use for you. Bacon? Nah. #gentrifiedgreens,” @jubimom wrote.

If you think it is insane to pay $81.50 for 10 servings of collard greens, then you might be surprised that Neiman Marcus’ supply was sold out in two days. What do you call that?

Jamie Jenkins